Ethnic Migrants and Casinos in Singapore and Macau

Juan Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

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This chapter offers an empirical account on migrant workers, their identities and their embodied experiences of labor hierarchy along ethnic lines in mega-casino resorts in Asia. As casino resorts become opportunities for fast-tract economic development and urban renewal in the region since 2010, the Asian gaming sector has become a major industry relying heavily on rural-urban, inter-regional and international migrant labour. With a focus on Filipino and Chinese casino workers in Singapore and Macau, this chapter explores complex inequalities experienced by migrants in a highly cosmopolitan and highly competitive work environment. Job hierarchies are often established based on cultural assumptions of particular characteristics and competencies attributed to different groups, consolidating classed and gendered stereotypes in the workplace. Although migrant workers in casinos try to resist negative ethnic stereotyping by emphasizing on their credentials and professionalism, they continue to perform the identity of the “perfect worker” with an “Asian-style” of conformity, self-discipline, and flexibility.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Ethnicity
EditorsSteven Ratuva
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-13-2898-5
ISBN (Print)978-981-13-2897-8
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2019


  • ethnic subjectivity
  • casino
  • complex inequalities
  • transnational migration
  • Singapore
  • Macau


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